About Broken Homes & Gardens
Paperback: 268 pages
Publisher: Blank Slate Press (April 28, 2015)
A girl, a guy, a broken-down house. Not exactly on-again, off-again, Malcolm and Joanna are in-again, out-again: in love, out of each other’s arms, in an awkward co-living arrangement, out of the country. Their unconventional relationship is the only way, Joanna says, to protect herself from the specter of commitment, which inevitably leads to heartbreak.
When Harry Met Sally for the Millennial generation, set in the damp and drizzly neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon, Broken Homes and Gardens is an ode to friendship, lust, and the unrelenting pull of love.
Buy, read, and discuss Broken Homes & Gardens
Rebecca Kelley grew up in Carson City, Nevada, wandered for a few years, and eventually landed in Portland, where she teaches writing at Oregon College of Art and Craft. She is the co-author of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. Broken Homes & Gardens is her first novel.
Connect with Rebecca
Sometimes a book arrives in your life exactly when you need it to. Lisa at TLC Book Tours offered this book to me when most of my summer review schedule was already set, but it looked like a fun and quirky novel (and I loved the title, a play on a certain magazine of some note), and I knew I’d be reading it at the end of my Dog Days of Podcasting run over at <a href=”http://www.bathtubmermaid.com”>The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Tub</a>.
I didn’t just read it, though. I devoured it.
I quickly fell in love with the somewhat aloof and more than a little clueless Joanna and the inscrutable (at first) Malcolm, thrown together when both are essentially abandoned at a party by her sister and his roommate (her sister’s lover/fiance/husband). Malcolm is leaving the country the next day, and the two become pen pals while dating other people, then he returns but they never quite hook up even though they end up cohabitating, and even though they’re so obviously meant for each other that you want to hit them with a blunt object. Or two.
In any case, Rebecca Kelley manages to balance poignance and absurdity, heartbreak and hopefulness in a way that never feels overly crafted, just well written. Her characters feel like the real, if sometimes annoying, people most of us know, or have been, and the core relationships – Joanna and Laura as sisters, and as daughters of Tess, Laura and Ted, Joanna and Malcolm, and old friends Ted and Malcolm all ring true.
It’s not a piece of somber, serious literature, but neither is Broken Homes & Gardens romance novel fluff. It’s a perfectly contemporary love story about imperfect contemporary lovers, and it should be on your reading list, for the next time you want something that’s light, but not frothy.
Goes well with a steaming mug of chai and an oatmeal craisin cookie.
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